Iran: Talks with US help Iraq security
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that U.S.-Iran talks have helped improve security in Iraq but he rejected claims that the Islamic republic is fueling violence there, the state news agency reported.
"The outcome of (U.S.-Iran) talks have helped stabilize conditions in Iraq a great deal," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as telling Iraqi journalists in Tehran, a day ahead of his landmark visit to Iraq.
Iran and the United States have held three rounds of talks about the security situation in Iraq, and in recent months U.S. officials have cited a dramatic drop in violence.
The U.S. military, however, still periodically accused Iran of training, arming and funding Shiite extremists inside Iraq to kill American troops and on Saturday said they captured an Iranian-trained sniper instructor.
Ahmadinejad ridiculed the U.S. for such accusations, saying Iraq's security was as important as Iran's security.
"Iran has no need to intervene in Iraq. It is friendly to all groups in Iraq. Isn't it ridiculous that those who have deployed 160,000 troops in Iraq accuse us of intervening there?" he said.
U.S. accusations that Iran is fueling violence in Iraq are aimed at justifying its "defeat" in Iraq, said Ahmadinejad, and claimed that the continued U.S. occupation of Iraq was the reason behind violence there.
"This is the temper of the Americans that they point fingers toward others wherever they are defeated ... instability, divisions and tensions in Iraq result from the occupiers," he said. Ahmadinejad called on the U.S. to pull out from Iraq.
"We believe the Iraqi people are able to provide their security and administer their own country. There is no need for foreign intervention," he said.
1) Talks with US help Iraq security